The Decline of Nationalism and the Rise of Right-wing Extremism

Since the attack in Norway, many right-wing media sources have been tripping over themselves in an effort to claim that Breivik is neither Christian nor conservative, and that the claims of him being so are fabrications of the liberal media. However, as per Breivik’s own words, from the book he wrote to start his xenophobic revolution, he is conservative and a self-proclaimed Christian.

In this book, now being called his “Manifesto,” Breivik, whose second language is English, expresses a deep loathing for both Islam, which he accuses of colonizing Europe, and for liberalism, which he blames for allowing this “Islamification” to occur. Breivik denounces multiculturalism, which he refers to as “cultural Marxism,” political correctness, and feminism as being the root causes of  the decline of national pride and European hegemony.

What is most disconcerting about Breivik’s manifesto, is that his grievances and scapegoats bear a strikingly accurate likeness to America’s own right-wing extremists. For a small, but growing, number of conservative Americans, our country is under attack from Islamist, who want to impose Sharia Law on America, from liberals, who want to destroy Christianity, and from feminists, who, according to Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh, want to kill babies and emasculate men.

Like our own extreme right, Breivik thinks that liberal ideals are robbing men of their masculinity and are wholly responsible for the decline of Western Civilization, which was, according to him and his American counterparts, at its golden age in the 1950s. This is the age in which, according to Breivik, men were men and women were women, and everyone knew their rightful places. Breivik writes that the 1950s was time in which:

“Our homes were safe…Public schools were generally excellent…Most men treated women like ladies, and most ladies devoted their time and effort to making good homes, rearing their children well and helping their communities through volunteer work. Children grew up in two– parent households, and the mother was there to meet the child when he came home from school…”

“What happened?” he asks. It is question asked by many of America’s own extreme conservatives as they demand, “where is the America of the past, bring it back!” What people like Breivik and Limbaugh and Robertson and all who think them refuse to acknowledge is that their ideal world was not a golden age for anyone but the white, Christian male. They are conveniently ignoring the fact that for non-whites, under-employment was the norm, unemployment was high, and poverty was even more rampant than it is now; they were, in much of the western world, subjected to oppressive segregation laws, such as South African Apartheid and US Jim Crow. They  are conveniently ignoring that for women, our options were limited and our freedoms restricted:  women could not open lines of credit in their own names, buy their own homes, or enter into most business contracts; they had limited career opportunities, among which were nursing, teaching, and secretarial work. They are purposefully ignoring that, for nearly two-thousand years, being non-Christian has often meant death , forced conversion, enslavement, or marginalization; and still does in many places throughout the world.

It is clear, upon listening to their diatribes against progressivism, political correctness, multiculturalism, feminism, and every other form of liberalism, is that these people are afraid. They are afraid that the world is changing and that it is going to eclipse them. They are afraid of a world in which the hegemony of the white, Christian male is ended. They are afraid that if nationalism dies, so too will the status quo.

The world is changing, about that they are correct; however, it has been changing since it first began because that is what life on this planet does, it evolves. Nationalism, and with it white, Christian male hegemony, is on the decline because it is not conducive to the peaceful human society necessary to preserve our species. Nationalism, racism, sexism, and even capitalism are all threats to humanity because at their core they’re xenocentric; they’re based upon the idea that the race, ethnicity, religion, culture, and sex of the predominate or power group in one’s nation is superior to all others. It is this very belief that led the rise of the Nazis, caused the Bosnian genocide, encourages much of the conflict in the Middle-East, continues to perpetuate the oppression and marginalization of women, non-whites, and non-Christians, and has been the root cause of nearly every violent conflict of the past century.

Perhaps the decline of  nationalism is a direct response to horrors which have arisen from it. Perhaps the rest of humanity is finally beginning to evolve beyond arbitrary concepts of race, gender, class, and ethnicity because we have come to see these things as impediments to human growth and progress. Perhaps people are beginning to recognize boarders for what they are, arbitrary lines in the sand meant to divide and control us. Perhaps nationalism is on the decline because people no longer want to be divided.

This is why we cannot let them win. We cannot allow right-wing extremists to use violence to frighten us into regressing, we have come too far and achieved too much to turn back now. Rather we must continue to press forward and to bring equality and justice to all people regardless of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, class, and every other means of arbitrary division. Moreover, we cannot allow their actions to make us turn against each other; we must recognize that these extremists, while conservative, are not indicative of conservatism as a whole. That would be a fallacy.

Therefore, and this is my advice to the conservatives out there who, like liberals, are disgusted and saddened by Breivik’s actions, you must distance yourself from the extreme right. However, you will not do so by denying that Breivik is a Christian-conservative, to do so would be disingenuous and would rob you of  the opportunity to demonstrate that not all conservatives are dishonest, bigoted, sexist, murderous, rampageous lunatics.

While I am very liberal, I do have some conservative friends, who would never advocate violence. As a humanist and a Democratic-Socialist, I do not often agree with my conservative friends and counterparts, especially when it comes to their aversion to such things as Universal Health Care or environmental protection; however, there are some things on which we can and do agree. Among them is this: right-wing extremists are dangerous; they are crazy and violent and their willingness to murder anyone with whom they disagree is a detriment to not only freedom, but to human society as a whole.

© Karen Lyn and Take Back America, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author(s) and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Lyn, author post authors as listed on this blog, and Take Back America with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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2 responses to “The Decline of Nationalism and the Rise of Right-wing Extremism

  1. Amen! Thank you for so eloquently stating some of the very thoughts I have been kicking around in my often scattered brain. I wish that everyone could open their eyes to this…. and see what the fear-mongering is doing to our nation.

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